30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 23} French Film – Populaire

God really loves me (and you, of course!). I mean, He really loves me. If He didn’t, this movie would not have been made.

Populaire is everything I love all rolled up in one great movie: a based on true events romantic comedy, a period piece no less, with 1950’s fashion set in France that stars a PINK TYPEWRITER (Ok, ok. The pink typewriter comes into the storyline towards the end, but still)!! Seriously?! Seriously? Best. movie. ever.

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30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 22} Dark Comedy – The Cable Guy

I don’t even want to review this movie. When Hunny and I first started dating, he asked me if I saw this movie and if I liked it. I had not and I was not interested in watching it. I did come across some interesting information about The Cable Guy. Ben Stiller was originally meant to star in the film, but he found directing and acting was too difficult. Chris Farley was the first choice, but was unable to commit due to scheduling conflicts. Jim Carrey won the role and got an unprecedented 20 million dollar salary for the role.

The only funny line from this movie is: I learned the facts of life from watching The Facts of Life.

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 21} Robin Williams – Aladdin

When I was preparing for this series, it was before Robin William’s tragic suicide. I was planning on reviewing Father’s Day. It is a less than stellar movie and I thought it would be encouraging to see that even someone as legendary as Robin Williams makes mistakes. Now that he’s gone, I feel that would be in poor taste.

We did not go to the movies very often growing up. Most of the movies we did see in the theaters starred Robin Williams: Jumanji, Hook, and Aladdin. I was at UNC-Chapel Hill for Journalism Camp and saw part of the filming of Patch Adams. The movie I want to revisit is Aladdin.

Aladdin was a huge hit with my entire family. We saw it in the theater and bought it on VHS when it came out (no DVDs then). My mom still has our Aladdin Christmas stockings. When we went to Disney World, the best part for us was watching the Aladdin parade.

Robin Williams did so much ad libbing as Genie that the script was turned down for a Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award. He improvised so much that there was 16 hours of material. He was even asked to improvise the merchant role, but most of what he said was unsuitable for the Disney audience.

 

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 20} Broadway Hit Turned Movie – Jersey Boys

Broadway hits becoming cinematic gold was the norm in Hollywood 60 and 50 years ago. Now it seems to be the opposite. Movies such as Legally Blonde and Spiderman are turning into Broadway hits. I’m pretty sure Beauty and the Beast was the first animated movie to become a Broadway hit.

I remember the first time I heard about Jersey Boys, the Broadway musical. I was watching Regis and Kelly with my Mom, and Regis animatedly said, “Jersey Boys! You gotta see it!” I don’t know why I remember this, but I do. I thought that sounded interesting and I thought it was crazy that Regis was friends with Frankie Valli.

Nine years later, Hunny hurries me out of my Mom’s minus the Littles saying that we need to go to the store. I thought it was strange that we were going to the store alone, but any alone time with Hunny is welcome. Especially since we can’t afford dates outside our house. When we got in the car, he turned to me and said, “We’re going to the movies.”

I cried.

Hunny hadn’t taken me to the movies in years. The last movie I saw in the theaters before Jersey Boys was The Great Gatsby and I saw that with a friend. I asked him what we were seeing and when he said Jersey Boys, I was a little disappointed. We also missed the beginning of the movie, which is irritating.

But the movie was perfect. I loved the four narratives telling the same story. I loved the characters breaking the fourth wall in a natural way that wasn’t cheesy or goofy. Director Clint Eastwood even snuck himself in the movie by having the characters watch one of his movies on TV. I especially loved the music and learning the behind the scenes information about them. I grew up listening to music from the 1950’s and 1960’s, so in a weird way, watching this film was listening to my childhood. I don’t think any of the other audience members, all at least 50 years older than Hunny and myself, had a more enjoyable time than we did.

Now it’s at the dollar theater, and I’m hoping Hunny will take me to see it again!

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 19} Steve Martin – Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid

Several years back, Hunny was on a Steve Martin kick. We were in Target when he saw a great impulse buy – three Steve Martin movies on one disc. The one I was most interested in watching was Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, a parody and homage to film noir and the detective movies of the 1940’s.

Eighteen movies were spliced with footage shot for this film. Eighty sets were built. This was Edith Head’s final movie! You don’t know Edith Head? She was the genius costume designer who has been quoted to have said:

I also think she was the inspiration for Edna E. Mode in The Incredibles.

It’s incredible that a cohesive storyline was created and executed using so many different films. Carl Reiner is a genius. Obviously. He created The Dick Van Dyke show.

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 15} Film School Must See – Citizen Kane

The first time I was forced to watch this movie… I mean, the first time I was obligated to view this film… That doesn’t sound right, either. The first time my eyes were assaulted by Citizen Kane…

Ok, fine. I’m not going to sugar coat this. I hate this movie. It is on every serious film lover/maker/buff’s list of cinematic perfection, including my Hunny’s. I saw Citizen Kane in Film 101. Seriously. I took that class before I knew I was meant to be involved with film. I honestly took it because I wanted to take a fun class for a change. That was a huge mistake. Some of the rape scenes I saw from that class haunt me to this very day.

I thought since so much time has passed, I would be able to view this movie with fresh eyes. The only problem with that is when I first saw Citizen Kane, I didn’t know anything about Orson Welles other than the fact that he did War of the Worlds. Now I know more about him, and he was a loathsome person. Not unlike the Kane character.

If any of you can explain to me why I should care what a rich man’s last words mean, please, let me know! I don’t understand why the audience would care about Kane or his life. There is nothing redeeming about him or this story, except that it ends and I will never watch it again. Despite the accolades this film receives, it was a commercial flop and every time it was announced for one of its nine Oscar nominations, the audience booed.

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 14} Gritty Law Drama – Anatomy of a Murder

Have you seen Anatomy of a Murder? Most likely, you have not. It is a James Stewart movie that is not a Hitchcock film. What intrigued me about this movie was the subject matter: a man accused of killing his wife’s alleged rapist. This film was made in 1959 and I was interested in how they would portray this and what the viewpoint surrounding it would be. James Stewart’s father hated this movie, called it a “dirty picture,” and took out a full page ad in a newspaper asking people not to go see the movie.

James Stewart plays a lawyer asked to defend the man accused of killing his wife’s alleged rapist. Even though he asks both parties to disclose everything to him, he along with the audience learn the real details of their life and the events in question. There aren’t many movies that keep me guessing, and this was one of them. I wasn’t sure of anyone or anything until the end of the film. The wife character was flirtatious and seemed loose, and the question was whether she was battered and sexually assaulted or if it was consensual and she is covering for her husband beating her and killing her lover.

I’m not going to tell you what happens or who was lying or if the accused gets away with murder, literally; but I will tell you that this is a film worth watching. It is interesting to see the other side of legal defense – defending the accused.

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 13} Time Travel – About Time

Hunny loves this movie, and I think this is the best time travel movie. Yes, I’ve seen Back to the Future. Back to the Future is a comedy, and if we’re talking about best comedic time travel, Back to the Future wins hands down. About Time is a drama, and the best time travel drama to date.

I don’t want to give away too many plot points just in case you haven’t seen it. I do want to explain why it is such a great movie. I enjoyed the way the subject of being able to travel time is approached. There’s a sequence where the main character lives his day and then relives it. The first time he has a hard time at work, he has a bad attitude at lunch, and he doesn’t enjoy coming home to his family. The second go through, he has a better time at work because he speaks up, he notices the lady smiling at him when he buys his lunch, he notices the fun to be had on his subway ride home, and he is kind to his family. It shows that you don’t need to time travel to have a great life. You can choose to live your life to the fullest and choose a good attitude. You choose the way you perceive your life and the events within it.

 

 

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 11} Jerry Lewis – The Nutty Professor

I chose Jerry Lewis as a subject for 30 Days, 30 Movies for two reasons: my Hunny loves one of his movies and he’s revered by the French, and we all know how I feel about France. The movie Hunny loves is called Cinderfella, and I had never seen it. What better way to be productive with my limited movie watching time than view a beloved childhood film with my boyfriend/husband. Sadly, this did not work out. We were unable to obtain a copy of Cinderfella. Our local movie rental house had The Nutty Professor instead.

This movie is a sad treatise on the view of what women want in men. Jerry Lewis’ Professor character is smitten with his student, Stella (It’s not as creepy as it sounds. Everyone looks to be in their 40’s). He notices that she likes athletes and his boss is giving him problems. He resolves to get physically fit with no results. Since he has scientific knowledge, he decides to make a formula to change himself. He turns into a brash jerk, Buddy Love, all the ladies love and all the guys fear. Stella likes him, but she can’t figure out why. In the end, he’s forced to expose himself for the gawky guy he is and Stella loves him anyway.

Or does she?

Stella is portrayed as an average girl who is clueless when it comes to people. She doesn’t recognize the high pitched voice of the Professor when the formula wears off Buddy Love. She doesn’t recognize the peculiar way he holds her hand or when the two characters show signs they are the same. She spends the movie loathing Buddy’s actions and treatment of her, and yet she doesn’t leave him and obsesses over him constantly. She can’t even take an exam because she’s sitting in her seat in a trance thinking about Buddy Love.

The final scene shows the Professor and Stella walking away arm in arm with a marriage license and Stella has two bottles of the formula hanging out of her back pockets. What does that mean? Is she going to take it? Is she going to give him the formula so he’ll be the jerky Buddy Love personality? Is this movie saying women will marry a nice guy, but prefer a bad guy?

Again, I’m not sure what this story is trying to say, but the Professor does make a speech at the end that everyone should accept who they are because if they don’t, no one else will. I think that’s what he was trying to express with this movie. Jerry Lewis is not a “cool” guy like his Rat Pack former partner Dean Martin, but he is a funny, intelligent guy and he likes himself.

 

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 9} Original vs. Reboot – TMNT 1990 vs. 2014

Before you accuse me of coming into this post with a bias, let me assure you of this: I did not see the original film until I was an adult. Yes, I watched the cartoon. Yes, I was technically old enough to watch the movie when it came out; however, my parents were protective of what their children watched. They had read in a Christian newsletter (because there were no websites in 1990) that the movie had New Age elements in it, and my parents said we were not allowed to watch it. I will say that the scene where the TMNT conjure up the image of Splinter in a fire is demonic. My parents kept us from watching numerous television shows and movies, and I applaud them for taking a stand.

Now that is out of the way, on to the review!

 

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It pains me to say what I am about to say. I feel that The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were done a disservice by the 2014 version. The storyline is interesting, but the execution is not. The best acting comes from the CGI characters. They are more life like than Megan Fox. The worst part of the 2014 movie is the violence. This movie made by Nickelodeon, a company known to create content for children, is extremely violent. The TMNT are electrocuted and in one scene their blood is purposely and visibly drained. The comedy in the movie is for comic relief. This movie has a serious tone despite the atrocious acting.

The 1990 movie featured creatures created by the Jim Henson Company. The most realistic creature is Splinter. The TMNT themselves loose their magic when they speak. The way their mouths move and the teeth are obviously not real. I’m not saying that the CGI TMNTs never lost their realism. There are many times in the movie where the CGI TMNT look fake/cartoonish, but the Jim Henson creature Splinter is the most real looking and has the most realistic feeling. Brian Henson, Jim Henson’s son and the head of the Jim Henson Company, gave an interesting TED Talk about puppetry and technology, which I think you should check out.